What Are the Chances?

Really, what are the chances?

I am sitting here in my office, and the TV is on and Kelly Clarkson’s talk show starts up and her only guest is Garth Brooks.

What are the chances I would turn the TV on at that moment and that the first two songs Garth would sing are “The Dance” and “If Tomorrow Never Comes”?

Earlier today I published an article on medium.com that I titled “The Sounds of Music”. In this article I wrote about how music has really helped me in life and how I finally had the courage to listen to songs that were songs from our marriage and our love.

What are the chances that Garth would sing 2 songs that have honor the depth of my grief with “The Dance” and then the song that brought Larry to tears every time he heard it? Larry would look at me and ask me that question. My answer was always the same. I told him I would know every day for the rest of my life how much he loved me if tomorrow never comes. If that is bad grammar, oh well.

Larry’s tomorrows stopped and all I need to do is look at the photo on the back cover of my book to see how much he loved me.

Then I think back to filling out the form to join an online dating site 22 years ago – I mean what were the chances that my answers would touch the heart of a man who would tell me “Forever’s As Far As I’ll Go” and mean it.

By the way, I listened to Garth and I wrote this article too without tears. You see I find joy in the memories of the love.

If you want to read my article on medium.com here is the link:


December 11, 1998

Chicago winters are nasty, and there I was sitting at my computer
asking myself did I really accept a date for dinner with
a man I had never met and walk three long blocks, freezing my
fanny off ? What was I thinking?

The truth is a good friend had convinced me to sign up for an
online dating service, and I was down to my last few days of having
free access to it, but free also meant I couldn’t see any photos of the
men there, nor could they see me. This truly was a blind date.
Doing this definitely took courage because either one of us could
have been a dud, and then what? Yes, this took bravery along with a
dose of what the hell was I thinking because it was freezing outside.
I primped. Who doesn’t want to look terrific on a first date?
Then again, who looks for a new relationship during the holidays?

My brain kept telling me that the men on the site were probably
trying to get lucky, I mean why else would they join at the holidays?
It is like admitting they were bums that had gotten tossed out.
Never mind the fact that I also had joined at the holidays.
I had returned to Chicago from living in Costa Rica with a stop in
Detroit to visit friends before coming back to the windy city. On top
of all of this, I was still married, although the divorce was imminent.

I primped some more. I won’t lie, I went for a sexy look with
a mini-skirt and low-cut top, and I added a spritz of “Obsession,”
my signature scent. I walked the three long blocks to the restaurant
he had chosen in low-heeled shoes, still slipping and sliding
along the way.

I walked into the restaurant, and the world stopped spinning
for a minute. There he was, just as he had described, tall with a
beautiful head of silver hair, and a look on his face that told me
he appreciated what he was looking at, and in fact that look told
me he felt as if he had won the lottery. I knew I had already won it.

It was a noisy Friday evening, people were laughing and
talking, but all I could hear was the beat of my heart as I walked
up to this amazingly sexy man. His smile lit up the room, and for
the first time in a long time I was speechless.

We laughed through dinner; we told our stories, and suddenly
the check arrived and all I could think was I had to come up with
something to keep this evening going. I wasn’t ready to say goodnight,
and I had a feeling he felt the same way.

I suggested we take a walk over to Marshall Fields on State
Street to look at the holiday windows without giving a thought
to the fact that my skimpy attire was iffy for windy and blowy
Chicago winter nights.

We were not that far from the restaurant when I realized I
was having a wardrobe malfunction. I was wearing thigh-high
nylon stockings, and they were slipping in the frosty weather.
Undoubtedly this was because my thighs had shrunk from the
cold, and it was all I could do to walk normally while occasionally
trying to hike them back up.

I have always been a bold woman, and what I should have
done was just stop and peel them off. But no, I continued to keep
them where they belonged in the name of keeping this date going
by doing some strange convoluted-looking dance.

Weeks later, when I admitted this to Larry, he laughed so hard
his face turned red, and he came right out and asked why I hadn’t
just peeled them off without missing a beat.

By this time, he had already learned how bold I could be, and the bolder I was, the harder he fell.

Yes, in looking back, that was the magical night when we
both began to heal from our pasts and we both began to become
whole again.



I am an #authoronfire. I realized this yesterday when a friend posted something that lit the fire in my heart.

This is what she wrote: There is a lot being said about 2020. While we have witnessed, and maybe even personally experienced, traumatic situations, we are still here… still here.

I don’t know about how that feels for you, but it humbles me and strengthens my resolve to take all self-imposed limitations off of my life.

Without ignoring pain, sadness and suffering, I also recognize healing, joy and prosperity.

What are you going to do with the life you have? Thank you LaFern Kitt Batie.

Well, for me it was a simple answer. I am going to rock 2021 because I can and I will.

This week due to the necessity of being home to have workers in my house I am going to throw some energy at my vision board for 2021.

Larry always admired my ability to look into my future, our futures, and plan and dream for it all.

That ability did not end because he died,it got better, it got bigger, it grew to enormous heights.

My sadness will always be here. Grief doesn’t end. I will miss Larry until I am no longer here, but while I am here I will honor his beliefs in me.

He had my back. He still does.

I am an #authoronfire.

Dammit it Grief, it’s Christmas

Dammit grief, it’s Christmas go somewhere else. Stop showing up as if you are the ghost of Christmas past and bringing with you a carousel of memories. Be gone. It’s Christmas.

Maybe it showed up because I wrote that piece about not liking turkey. Oh well, I don’t like turkey. I am good with saying that, and while Larry loved it to the point of filling a freezer with leftovers, I do not miss seeing those containers that he would enjoy thawing to eat turkey and stuffing as long as he could.

I spent the weekend after Thanksgiving bringing Christmas into my new home. In anger and sadness I had sold so much of our decorations knowing I would never use them again. I kept the beautiful collection of Santa’s, the ornaments that meant the most to me, and the gnomes we bought on one of our holiday trips to Las Vegas.

I put the new tree up, and only shed some tears when I hung the ornaments we collected for our dogs. The tree was sparsely decorated so I added the antique ornaments from my parents, and then I opened the box of turquoise and gold ornaments from our bedroom tree. I separated out the gold from the turquoise and used the gold ones as filler for the empty spots. I look at my tree now and see it is a combination of what Larry and I collected, my parents, and our beautiful master bedroom tree. It is all good.

Christmas music fills the house, I light Larry’s favorite candles (he picked them all out) and I am happy with everything I see. While it is different from 21 years of decorating, it is all that I need at this time.

I sat with a glass of wine, a Christmas movie on the TV and that is when it happened. That is when grief blew in extinguishing the beauty of everything I had been enjoying. While I was sitting there I heard a car door close and for one damn moment I thought Larry was home.

Dammit grief go away.

Paying it Forward for December


I am letting everyone know right here, right now that if you ordered a book in my pre-sale event last month or if you order one now through 12/14/2020 and you think you know someone who would or could benefit from reading it I will send them a digital copy of it on 12/28/2020.

I have an army of supporters who have ordered telling me they know others who should have a copy.

To do this all you have to do is send me an email to carolelsanek@fractured.life and include their email address (with their permission to receive a copy, please). I will be sending out emails to those who have already ordered it.

I am doing this to pay it forward from you and from me. My book is so important to me because my goal in writing it was to help others, but I couldn’t write it without including the love story that still lives on.

Thank you all so much.


Breaking news; I do not like turkey. I have liked it in the past. I liked it as a kid, I liked it as a wife, a mother, a grandmother and this year I realized I do not like turkey.

I am pretty certain the reason I no longer like it is because when Larry died, he took all those turkey dinners with him.

He loved turkey. I would make a different recipe every so often and he never complained because he loved turkey. He did not mind when I stopped stuffing the damn bird, he just made his stuffing on the side and baked it in the oven.

Over the years I did begin to scale down on the size of the bird. I could eat one second meal of leftovers and after that every last morsel belonged to Larry and the dogs.

I even included a turkey story in my book “Fractured-Living with Grief”.

If I am ever invited to Thanksgiving dinner in the future, I will eat some dark meat. I will eat everything else on the table with one more exception. I absolutely cannot stand Green Bean Casserole. I know I am probably an alien from a different planet.

From now on it is a roast chicken for me, no more turkey and definitely no green bean casserole.

That face, a face only a mother could love, where is it’s mother? Oh probably in an oven somewhere.

Conjugating Grief

Conjugating is one of those words that takes us back to 7th grade English class. Once we have it down pat, it comes back to us when we start to learn a foreign language in 9th grade.

The verb “to be” constantly changes form and for some strange reason it has always resonated with me because I like grammar. I am certainly not perfect at it and I often need help with it. Grammar and conjugating verbs is something I have always had fun with and I also admit that I like to diagram sentences too.

Today I was researching quotations that have deep meaning and I came across one by Eckhart Tolle and as I read it I immediately was conjugating the verb “to be”. That is how engrained this is in me. I allowed it to take me down a different road as I thought about what he meant when he wrote it and as I dwelled upon it I found myself researching the word conjugate.

I know, undoubtedly you are wondering where I am going with this. What I did was look at all the definitions of the word and I was surprised to see that there are scientific uses of the word too. I won’t go into that because that would take me too far outside the boundaries of what I am writing about today.

It has been a while since I have posted. I have been busy doing pre-sales for my book (hint go to the top of this page and click “The Book” and you can receive a signed copy.)

Let me reel it all in and explain what spoke to me today. It was Tolle’s quote that sent me down the rabbit hole.

I will leave it here for you all to consider – it’s deep, I feel it.

Twenty Months Ago

Twenty months ago, Larry took his last breath and let go of all the footsteps he had placed on this world. He was never able to say goodbye, not in words. I was blessed to have had that afternoon where he held me close and caressed my head as I lay on his chest. My heart is filled with gratitude that he was able to get his message to me and I felt his love. He held me tightly and we danced. I laid my head on his chest as he laid in a hospital bed, I disconnected the alarms on his ventilator so we wouldn’t be disturbed, and we shared our love without words.

Twenty months later I am releasing the presale of my book “Fractured-Living with Grief” honoring his love, honoring the twenty plus years we had together, honoring all that he did for me, honoring the man he was.

Many of you who are reading this knew him well, and he left footsteps on your lives too. I love hearing you tell me how much you cared for him, how much you admired how he took care of me, how much he made you believe in love.

Welcome to the new website dedicated to our story of love peppered with hope and faith that when you reach this day you will have something to fall back upon in my guidance through the hardest days you will ever face.

You are here because you want to order a book, and the process is simple, just click on “The Book” on the menu at the top of the website and you will be taken to the order form.

Thank you for supporting me as I wandered through the wilderness of deeply painful grief. Thank you for being there for me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for letting me cry. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

All my love,


Sometimes I just sit unable to move…

Yes, sometimes I just sit, unable to move. I sit in the living room and watch the water birds come to feed at the pond.

Other times I sit at my desk and just stare at my computer.

Words that used to come easily are difficult to find now.

Sometimes I just sit, unable to move.

I open the cards that have come in the mail. I sit there frozen while reading the kind words. Tears slide down my cheeks and fall on to my chest. I set them aside and let the tears slide.

I don’t get hungry often, but I know I need to eat. It is so difficult to make a meal without dancing around Willie, who is hoping something falls to the floor.

Sometimes I just sit, unable to move.

I want to move; I want to do the things I always did; I want the plans to keep moving forward, and then I remember I am alone. My partner, my best friend, my anchor in life is gone. Maybe she thought I was ready to handle my future on my own, but I don’t think I am.


Many times I just sit, unable to move.

A real blessing, a true unconditional love giver, my girl, my Willie.

My Heart is Crushed

Yes, my heart is crushed. I fall in and out of tears. My face is a mess. My eyelids are swollen, I cannot eat, I sleep fitfully and I have heart pain.

I keep asking why I am being tested. What have I done to deserve to have all this trauma again, all this pain?

My heart hurts. It is heavy in my chest. I have a lump in my throat and breathing is difficult.

Darling little Willie the one-eyed wonder dog left this world Sunday morning at 10:10AM and with her last breath my wilderness, that shitty wilderness of grief, opened up again. It thrust me to the very beginning of darkness, sharp edges, rough rocks tearing at my soul and scraping the skin off my body. I tried to wrap myself up and protect myself from the searing pain, but it took me to my knees and it is so much harder to get up this time.

The sweet angel I rescued almost 10 years ago had liver failure. There was no saving her, no treating her, there was nothing that anyone could do. I am devastated.

I don’t know how to pull myself up again. I don’t think I have the energy.

Darling Willie.